FICO announced Thursday its latest version of the FICO score, a three-digit number that assesses a person’s credit risk. The new scoring model will take consumers’ debt levels into account and will more closely track personal loans.
Previous scoring models took snapshots of a person’s payment history. The new model will take a historical view of payments over time and can process much more information, including account balances for the previous two years, aiming to give lenders more insight into how individuals are managing their credit, FICO said.
About 80 million people will see a shift of 20 points or more, according to a statement from Dave Shellenberger, vice president of product management at FICO. Of those, about half will see scores go up, while the other half will see their scores drop.
Those who have a high amount of credit card debt relative to their overall credit, or who have recently missed payments, could see a more significant drop.
But people who make on-time payments and don’t carry high balances will likely see a slight increase in their score, Shellenberger said.
FICO estimates that 110 million consumers will see only a modest change to score, if at all, he said.
“The bad news is that those who were already struggling with debt will be hit more drastically by the recent FICO changes,” said Sefa Mawuli, a wealth adviser at Citrine Capital.
“The good news, though, is that the fundamentals we stress have not changed: make timely payments, avoid taking on too much debt. Those who abide by these guidelines will not see their credit scores drop under the changes,” she said.
The new model targets personal loans, potentially penalizing those who use them, said Justin Pritchard, a certified financial planner and author of “The Everything Improve Your Credit Book: Boost Your Score, Lower Your Interest Rates, and Save Money.”
“We’ve seen numerous personal loan providers enter the marketplace in recent years, so it’s no surprise that those debts are increasing,” he said. “People can borrow money online at competitive rates.”
Americans are borrowing heavily, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Household debt increased by $92 billion in the third quarter of 2019 and is now $13.95 trillion.
The average FICO score rose to 706 in 2019, after bottoming out at 686 in Oct 2009, according to FICO.
The new changes are due to go into effect this summer.
In the meantime, Pritchard said, the fundamentals of maintaining a good credit score still apply: pay debts on time, maintain low credit card balances and don’t get any more credit than you need.
Shortly before impeachment proceedings wrapped up Wednesday, Chief Justice John Roberts disclosed that the House managers submitted a “one-page classified document” that senators could review in a classified setting, but not release to the public.
The chief justice was referring to testimony from Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence who gave House investigators new details about Pence’s contacts with Ukrainians. Democrats say there’s more to learn from her testimony, but it isn’t public yet.
She gave a private deposition and later testified in public during the House inquiry. House Democrats announced in December that Williams later provided even more testimony about one of Pence’s phone calls with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
But they said the new information couldn’t be revealed because Pence’s office wouldn’t declassify the material.
“I’ve read that testimony,” Democratic House manager Zoe Lofgren said Wednesday on the Senate floor. “I’ll just say that a cover-up is not a proper reason to classify a document.”
Lofgren and other Democrats have accused Pence’s office of keeping the information classified because it would be damaging to the President — not because it is a legitimate state secret. The Democrats on Wednesday renewed their calls for the White House to declassify the material.
“And again, in case the White House needs a reminder, it’s improper to keep something classified just to avoid embarrassment or to conceal wrongdoing,” said Lofgren, a California Democrat.
Pence has previously said he has “no objection” to releasing the transcripts of his calls, but it hasn’t happened.
Democrats have complained that Trump is blocking the Williams testimony, and thousands of other subpoenaed documents from executive departments, to prevent the public from seeing evidence of his wrongdoing. One of the two articles of impeachment passed by the House charges Trump with obstruction of Congress.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has led the charge for the Senate to call additional witnesses and subpoena new documents. He said Thursday that he read the classified testimony and doesn’t know why it needs to be classified. He declined to comment further.
Asked why the Trump administration is not declassifying the Williams testimony, Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow said he would not comment on “national security” matters.
Trump released transcripts of his two phone calls with Zelensky, including a July call where Trump pressed the Ukrainian leader to investigate his domestic political opponents, including former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading rival in the 2020 election.
Democrats say that July call is the “smoking gun” in Trump’s impeachment case. Trump has maintained that the conversation was a “perfect call” and that he didn’t do anything wrong. There has been no evidence of wrong doing by Joe Biden or his son.
Pence has denied ever talking to Zelensky about any investigations into Biden, and that he didn’t know about any pressure campaign to extract political favors from the Ukrainian government. Pence’s office issued these denials even though US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testified that Pence was “in the loop” for at least some parts of the plan.
The House managers will shift from their case for why the President abused his office and dive into their argument that the President conducted unprecedented obstruction of the House’s impeachment investigation, which is the second article of impeachment the House passed last month, obstruction of Congress.
Schiff made an impassioned closing argument to end the House’s second day of presentations on Thursday evening, urging the removal of Trump and repeating that “right matters.” He’ll have one more chance to leave an impression with on-the-fence Republican senators at the conclusion of the House’s third and final day of opening arguments this evening, before it will be the defense counsel’s turn to make their opening argument.
“You know you can’t trust this President to do what’s right for this country. You can trust he’ll do what’s right for Donald Trump,” Schiff said. “If you find him guilty, you must find that he be removed. Because right matters. And the truth matters. Otherwise we are lost.”
The California Democrat also previewed the House’s case for obstruction, making an argument directly to senators that the President’s conduct will have repercussions for them, too.
“If the Senate allows the President to get away with such extensive obstruction, it will affect the Senate’s power of subpoena and oversight just as much as the House,” Schiff said.
The House’s presentation has been detailed and thorough for the first two days — Republican senators have derided it as repetitive — but the managers are making a pitch both to the public as well as Republican senators they hope will consider backing subpoenas for witnesses and documents. The Democrats spent much of Thursday’s presentation getting ahead of the arguments they are expecting from the President’s legal team — pushing back on the notion there’s any legitimacy to investigating former Vice President Joe Biden in Ukraine as the President and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani have claimed.
Democrats zero in on winnable Republicans in Trump trial

Indeed, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said the House managers’ focus on the Bidens “kind of opened the door for that response” from the defense team.
The President’s lawyers will begin their arguments on Saturday, but it’s expected they won’t use the full 24 hours that’s allotted to them. GOP senators have said they anticipate a shorter session on Saturday that can begin earlier than the typical 1 p.m. ET daily start.
Trump complained about the start date on Twitter Friday morning, suggesting that the Saturday session would get bad TV ratings.
“After having been treated unbelievably unfairly in the House, and then having to endure hour after hour of lies, fraud & deception by Shifty Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer & their crew, looks like my lawyers will be forced to start on Saturday, which is called Death Valley in T.V.,” Trump tweeted.
Of course, it’s been Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who has set the schedule, including the late night for amendment votes to set the trial rules and cutting the number of days each side has to use their 24 hours of arguments to three from four in the 1999 Bill Clinton impeachment trial. McConnell’s condensed schedule is part of an effort to end the trial next week — ahead of the President’s February 4 State of the Union.
Whenever the President’s lawyers conclude their presentation, the Senate will shift into 16 hours of senator questions of the two legal teams. Then the Senate will address the question of witnesses — with a vote looming under the Republican-passed trial rules on whether there should be subpoenas for additional witnesses and documents.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham just appeared on Fox News and stuck to the same White House lines on the possibility of having witnesses at trial. 

Grisham repeated that President Trump “would love” for witnesses to be called but quickly added: “Also you have to think about executive privilege… This President is actually trying to protect future presidents against this kind of abuse.” 

She criticized Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who has repeatedly demanded witnesses, including at a news conference just moments ago. (You can read more on that in the post below this one.)

“It’s not the Senate’s job to clean up after what the House did,” she said.

Some context: Many Republicans have argued that the House, which conducted the impeachment investigation, should have subpoenaed more witnesses before turning the articles of impeachment over to the House. House Democrats argue that with lengthy court battles over subpoenas, the process would have been drawn out until the 2020 election.

Grisham said she “hopes” the trial is over by next Friday. She wouldn’t get into the preparations the Trump legal team has made for their opening argument, but said, “They are very well prepared, and they have a very strong case.” 

Andrea Bartz

In 2017, Paltrow announced it would develop a magazine with Condé Nast (the company behind Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and Vogue). But Paltrow split with the media giant after two issues, in part because she refused to play ball with fact-checkers, per the New York Times Magazine: “Goop wanted Goop magazine…to allow the Goop family of doctors and healers to go unchallenged in their recommendations via the kinds of Q. and A.s published, and that just didn’t pass Condé Nast standards.”
(The article notes that Paltrow brought on a lawyer to vet claims and did plan to hire a staff fact-checker for their quarterly magazine, produced in-house.) Goop’s communications director told me in an email that the magazine “is on hold due to reallocating resources to our Netflix show, but we did hire a fact-checker for the magazine. We also have a fact-checking process for the site, led by our science and research team.”
Fact-checkers, who for decades have worked behind the scenes as non-bylined journalists, have been having a rare moment in the limelight. In November 2019, Ronan Farrow told the New York Times, “I’ll go to my grave ranting about how important fact-checkers are.” In February, Trump had quoted Jesse Watters, who declared fact-checkers “Fake News.” There are about five times as many fact-checking-focused reporting projects (think: Politifact, Snopes, Factcheck.org, etc.) today as there were in 2014, according to a survey from the Duke Reporters’ Lab. There was even a Broadway show about fact-checkers, starring Daniel Radcliffe.
These days, we need fact-checkers more than ever — but not just for the reason you think. Yes, it’s great we count on researchers to call out politicians and diligently confirm bombshell accusations. But as print magazines (and their on-staff fact-checkers) become a dying breed, we’re not nearly alarmed enough about researchers’ diminishing influence over lifestyle content — the tips and how-to’s that tell us how to live.

Why I bow down to fact-checkers

Our understanding of fact-checkers and our appreciation of their work has grown too narrow. Drop “fact-checker” into Google News, and the results all cluster into the same word cloud: Trump’s latest rally or interview, impeachment hearings, town halls and debates, and those pesky, misleading Facebook ads. And certainly, I’m glad we have researchers sorting the truth from the lies. There’s a good reason everyone is talking about fact checkers — at recent count, Trump has made over 16,000 false or misleading statements thus far as President.
But politics isn’t the only realm where fact-checkers are the one dwindling force between us and a post-truth world: it’s happening in the wellness industry too, a sector where women and girls are avid consumers.
In 2020, it can feel like lying is the norm: Witness the sad state of political spin, the swell of grifters, of charlatans and snake-oil salesmen, pricey “experts” shilling New Age treatments and odd offerings to the Church of Wellness. We’re in an era when anyone can say almost anything (hi, influencers and “lifestyle experts”) and many people will believe them. The stuff we used to get almost exclusively from magazines — up-to-date wellness advice, research and information aimed at teens, pregnant women, parents, and more — has lost a huge chunk of its vetting, and we, Absorbers of the Advice Aimed at Us, will suffer the consequences.
I should know — I’m a former women’s magazine editor who held positions at several national publications, most of which are no longer print and some of which have shuttered entirely. Others live on in their digital forms, publishing dozens of articles a day, often with a skeleton crew. And while many are still producing excellent content, as a general rule, there is no guarantee the stories we click on — the workouts, diet advice, health tips, and more — have seen a fact-checker’s gaze before they hit the sites and accompanying social media profiles.

Why my novel’s heroine is a fact-checker

Now, in a vacuum left by those defunct print magazines, influencers with questionable — or entirely absent — credentials tell their millions of followers which (FDA-unregulated) supplements to take or whether to get a flu shot. “Clean eating” tips irresponsibly bandied about can serve as triggers for folks who’ve suffered from eating disorders. On Reddit, laypersons weigh in on homeopathy to treat Zika, how to increase platelet counts during chemo, and whether vaccines are safe. Twitter chatter around holistic health, including alternative therapies, shot up 372% from 2016 to 2019.
Here’s how fact-checking typically works at a magazine: When a writer files their story, they also submit “back-up” — an annotated manuscript showing where every fact and quote came from, as well as interview transcripts and original sources. The editor looks this over, then passes it on to an assigned fact-checker, who essentially reverse-reports the entire story. They contact every source cited in the piece and verify their quotes. They read through every study mentioned and confirm with the researcher that the writer’s interpretation is correct. They ensure that no misspelled proper nouns have sneaked in, meticulously cross-checking every letter in a name and giving it a diagonal slash. These people are heroes, and I bow down.
I can’t count the number of times a fact-checker has saved my butt — noticing in the nick of time that an argument didn’t hold up or a line needed to be reworded. The best checkers are allies, suggesting fixes and zooming out to make each article as truthful and helpful as possible. At a digital outlet with research staff and fact-checkers, the process follows a similar trajectory. Unfortunately, too often digital publications lack the time or resources to go through these steps. They finish a story, hit publish, and hope for the best.
And, to be clear, the websites for some print magazines can’t fact-check stories the way their paper arms can: While a monthly newsstand copy contains a few dozen articles, a monthly’s website might publish 50+ pieces in a single day. Non-verified information has always been a click away; the problem is that now, it feels like all we’ve got.
This thorough, time-intensive, thoughtful approach is why I made the heroine of my debut mystery, The Lost Night, a magazine fact-checker. My decision to make my protagonist a fact-checker was mostly tactical: I needed an amateur sleuth with the skills of a true gumshoe.

Who’s left most adrift in a sea of marketing

Fact-checkers don’t give up until they’ve brought the truth to light, and that’s precisely why the decline of lifestyle magazines hurts my heart. No major print magazine aimed at teenage girls is still in publication (with a team of fact-checkers reviewing all the mental and sexual health advice therein). I have no idea where teenage girls are learning about birth control these days, but they won’t have a special sealed section in an issue of YM (or was it Teen?) the same way I did. They might actually believe there’s something wrong with their vulvas if they don’t smell like Goop’s $75, sold-out bergamot- and damask-rose-scented candle, called “This Smells Like My Vagina.” In 2018, Goop was sued for false advertising over claims that their “vaginal jade egg” prevented uterine prolapse. The company paid out $145,000. They changed their marketing around the product but continued to sell it.
I’m not saying Goop makes false claims, and I think it’s great that they hired fact-checkers to work on their team. What I am saying is that Goop in all its wackiness exists in an ecosystem where there are fewer and fewer available outlets offering sound information about wellness that’s been rigorously researched before it hits the public, and that can be a dangerous environment for consumers.
Are magazines perfect? Of course not — when I was on staff, though I did my best to maintain editorial integrity, sometimes I got the message that (ahem) it would be really great if I could include a major advertiser’s product in a gear roundup, for example. Not all lifestyle magazines are created equal in their purveyance of accuracy (and some print magazines lack fact-checkers altogether).
In the end, fact-checkers make excellent amateur detectives because they don’t stop until reality wins — not agendas or interpretations, but irrefutable facts. As we move toward a world where anyone can tell the public how to be healthier, happier, fitter, or safer, fact-checkers aren’t just necessary for a functional democracy — we need them for a functional population, period.
“The Goop Lab,” Gwyneth Paltrow’s new Netflix mini-series, tackles the topic in their first episode by sending several Goop employees to Jamaica to ingest magic mushrooms under the careful guidance of psychotherapists.
One young woman, traumatized by her father’s suicide, declares she “went through years of therapy in about five hours.”
What does the scientific community say about the role of psychedelics on our psyche?
It’s an increasingly hopeful thumps up.
Despite the fact that psychedelics are illegal, the last decade has seen an explosion of research, with results so intriguing that governments are greenlighting studies around the world.
Watching 'The Goop Lab' could turn you into a member of the Goop troop

Scientists are busily exploring the role of hallucinogens on treatment-resistant depression, post traumatic stress disorder, cancer-related anxiety, addictions, and even anorexia.
But this is not the first time science became giddy over the potential benefits of psychedelics. That story began nearly a century ago.

The first trip on LSD

It was 1938 when Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman inadvertently synthesized lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, while trying to create a treatment for bleeding disorders. He shelved the compound for other research, then accidentally absorbed a small dose a few years later.
Johns Hopkins has launched the first center devoted exclusively to researching psychedelic drugs in the U.S.

Johns Hopkins has launched the first center devoted exclusively to researching psychedelic drugs in the U.S.

Intrigued by the feeling of euphoria, Hoffman tried it again, later realizing he had given himself five times the effective dose.
“The faces of those around me appeared as grotesque, colored masks,” Hoffman wrote in a first person account. “I sometimes observed, in the manner of an independent, neutral observer, that I shouted half insanely or babbled incoherent words. Occasionally I felt as if I were out of my body.”
Hoffman was tripping.

The golden era

Word spread quickly through the scientific community and soon researchers around the world began analyzing, then experimenting with LSD, both on themselves and their patients.
Their methods may not be considered state-of-the-art science today, but that didn’t stop the research. Science began to tackle other age-old hallucinogens: an extract from Mexican “sacred mushrooms” called psilocybin, and a naturally occurring psychoactive found in the peyote cactus called mescaline.
Forget weed. Some Oregonians want to legalize psychedelic mushrooms

Forget weed. Some Oregonians want to legalize psychedelic mushrooms

After all, these plant-based psychedelics have been in use by indigenous peoples and ancient cultures for hundreds, possibly thousands of years.
In the 1950s UK psychiatrist Dr. Humphry Osmond began giving LSD to treatment-resistent alcoholics: 40% to 45% of those who took LSD were still sober after a year. Other researchers duplicated his results.
Eager to label the effect of LSD on the mind, Osmond put together the Greek words psyche (mind) and deloun (show). The word psychedelic was born.
During the ’40s and early ’50s tens of thousands of patients took LSD and other psychotropics to study their effects on cancer anxiety, alcoholism, opioid use disorder, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Researchers began to see psychedelics as possible “new tools for shortening psychotherapy.

Celebrity endorsements

Outside the control of a lab, people began to use psychedelics for their mind-bending effects, swearing the drugs improved creativity and made them happier long past the bliss of the high.
Celebrities helped spread the word: Gary Grant used LSD over 100 times in the late ’50s, according to the documentary film, “Becoming Cary Grant,” claiming it made him a better actor.
Grant was so taken with the drug that he decided to go public with his experience in the September 1, 1959, issue of Look magazine. Vanity Fair wrote about the article, entitled “The Curious Story Behind the New Cary Grant,” which was a glowing account of how LSD therapy had improved Grant’s life: “At last, I am close to happiness.”
Influential writer Aldous Huxley, best known for his 1932 novel “Brave New World,” took LSD during the last third of his life. In 1960 he told “The Paris Review”: “While one is under the drug one has penetrating insights into the people around one, and also into one’s own life. Many people get tremendous recalls of buried material. A process which may take six years of psychoanalysis happens in an hour — and considerably cheaper!”

The Leary impact

When Harvard psychologists Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert decided to open the Harvard Psilocybin Project in 1960, research on psychedelics was still in its golden era. That would soon change.
Leary and Alpert were fired in 1962 and their research shut down when Harvard discovered they had been giving LSD to their students. Alpert changed his name to Baba Ram Dass and became a best selling author and New Age guru. Leary began to speak out publicly, encouraging young people to take LSD recreationally. He quickly became the face of the drug counterculture movement with his signature message, “Turn on, tune in, drop out.”
“Drop out of school, because school education today is the worst narcotic drug of all,” Leary said. “Don’t politic, don’t vote, these are old men’s games.”
Unforgettable photos of psychedelia and debauchery from the golden age of LSD

Unforgettable photos of psychedelia and debauchery from the golden age of LSD

No longer administered in the relative safety of a lab or psychiatrist’s office, horror stories of bad “acid” trips at colleges and concerts shared headlines with images of anti-Vietnam protests and unclothed Woodstock attendees.
In 1966, LSD was declared illegal in the United States and research projects were closed or forced underground.
In 1970, President Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act into law. It classified hallucinogenics as Schedule I drugs — the most restrictive category — reserved for substances with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

A long dry spell is broken

Twenty five years passed. Then in the mid-’90s, a few scientists in Germany, Switzerland and the US again began to explore the mental and physical impact of psilocybin, mescaline, and a new player in the space: N-dimethyltryptamine or DMT. It’s the active ingredient in an ancient sludge-like brew called ayahuasca, which is used by spiritual healers in the Amazon.
Small, with very few participants and no randomization or other controls, the research was similar to “safety and tolerability” studies designed to prove no harm.
Trying to study illegal substances created challenges for researchers, but many persevered. As the years passed, the US Food and Drug Administration and the US Drug Enforcement Administration began to say “yes” more often than “no.”
9 things everyone should know about the drug Molly

9 things everyone should know about the drug Molly

Studies on psilocybin, DMT, and mescaline were approved, as were studies of the synthetic drug MDMA, more commonly known as “Molly” or “Ecstasy.”
Research on LSD, which had the worst reputation in the public’s eye, lagged behind until 2008. That’s when the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, or MAPS, received FDA approval to study LSD-assisted psychotherapy on end-of-life anxiety. MAPS called the approval “a transformative moment.”
The study found “positive trends” in the reduction of anxiety after two sessions of LSD administered under the guidance of a psychotherapist.
Fears of any permanent damage from psychedelics were eased by a large 2015 study of 130,000 American adults, comparing users to non-users. The study found no link between the use of LSD, psilocybin or mescaline and suicidal behavior or mental health problems.
However, studies show a minority of people do experience “bad trips,” fueling speculation that the chance of negative experiences may differ depending on the type of hallucinogenic, the dose, even the type of mental disorder. In addition, research shows people who have used anti-depressants for a long time fail to respond well to some psychedelics, leading to concern about their use in chronic anti-depressant users.
To avoid negative experiences, MAPS and other organizations say having trained therapists on hand to guide one through the experience is key, along with a supportive setting, appropriate expectations and proper dosage.

A research renaissance

Today there is a true renaissance of research on the role of psychedelics on mental health.
Active ingredient in ecstasy may help veterans with PTSD, study finds

Active ingredient in ecstasy may help veterans with PTSD, study finds

“Gold-standard” double blind randomized trials have shown “rapid, marked, and enduring anti-anxiety and depression effects,” researchers say, in people with cancer-related and treatment-resistant depression after a single dose of psilocybin. Treatment with psilocybin has also improved obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms and alcohol dependence.
Dosage has become a focus of interest. “Micro-doses’ of shrooms and other psychedelics is a recent trend; users claim tiny, daily doses can improve mood and concentration without the commitment to a hours-long high. Research on micro-dosing is in the early stages.
MAPS is in the final phase of a gold-standard study administering MDMA [Ecstasy] to 300 people with severe PTSD from any cause. Results of the second phase showed 68% of the people no longer met the criteria for PTSD at a 12-month follow-up; before the study they had suffered from treatment-resistant PTSD for an average of 17.8 years.
The results are so positive that in January the FDA declared MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD a “Breakthrough Therapy.” MAPS hopes to turn the therapy into a FDA-approved prescription treatment by the end of 2021 to treat sexual assault, war, violent crime, and other traumas.
“We also sponsored completed studies of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for autistic adults with social anxiety, and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety related to life-threatening illnesses,” the group says.
Ayahuasca has been shown to significantly improve depression and appears to be helpful in treating alcohol, tobacco and cocaine addiction.
LSD has been shown to help anxiety, and studies find it provides a “blissful state” for the majority of users. Study participants report greater perceptiveness, insight, feelings of closeness to others, happiness, and openness. Some even say they experience long-term, positive restructuring of their moods and attitudes.
Psychedelic ayahuasca works against severe depression, study finds

Psychedelic ayahuasca works against severe depression, study finds

But some studies have found unpleasant effects from LSD, both during the high and after. People with negative reactions can have difficulty concentrating, dizziness, lack of appetite, dry mouth, nausea and/or imbalance for up to 10 to 14 hours after taking LSD; headaches and exhaustion can last up to 72 hours.
In the end, it’s too early for science to provide psychedelics a full seal of approval. One of the caveats of this research is that the drugs are administered with psychological support. When that is removed, studies found the benefits were minimal, and in rare cases, may even worsen mental health symptoms.
“Psychedelics amplify painful memories … and emotions,” said MAPS trained psychiatrist Dr. Will Siu in the Goop episode. Taking these drugs in unsupported settings, he said, can “be incredibly destabilizing, and you can actually feel worse in the short term.”
Long term, it appears research into psychedelics is here to stay. Perhaps one day soon a trip to the therapist will include a trip into your mind, and hopefully, a quicker path to healing.
The House managers will shift from their case for why the President abused his office and dive into their argument that the President conducted unprecedented obstruction of the House’s impeachment investigation, which is the second article of impeachment the House passed last month, obstruction of Congress.
Schiff made an impassioned closing argument to end the House’s second day of presentations on Thursday evening, urging the removal of Trump and repeating that “right matters.” He’ll have one more chance to leave an impression with on-the-fence Republican senators at the conclusion of the House’s third and final day of opening arguments this evening, before it will be the defense counsel’s turn to make their opening argument.
“You know you can’t trust this President to do what’s right for this country. You can trust he’ll do what’s right for Donald Trump,” Schiff said. “If you find him guilty, you must find that he be removed. Because right matters. And the truth matters. Otherwise we are lost.”
The California Democrat also previewed the House’s case for obstruction, making an argument directly to senators that the President’s conduct will have repercussions for them, too.
“If the Senate allows the President to get away with such extensive obstruction, it will affect the Senate’s power of subpoena and oversight just as much as the House,” Schiff said.
The House’s presentation has been detailed and thorough for the first two days — Republican senators have derided it as repetitive — but the managers are making a pitch both to the public as well as Republican senators they hope will consider backing subpoenas for witnesses and documents. The Democrats spent much of Thursday’s presentation getting ahead of the arguments they are expecting from the President’s legal team — pushing back on the notion there’s any legitimacy to investigating former Vice President Joe Biden in Ukraine as the President and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani have claimed.
Democrats zero in on winnable Republicans in Trump trial

Indeed, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said the House managers’ focus on the Bidens “kind of opened the door for that response” from the defense team.
The President’s lawyers will begin their arguments on Saturday, but it’s expected they won’t use the full 24 hours that’s allotted to them. GOP senators have said they anticipate a shorter session on Saturday that can begin earlier than the typical 1 p.m. ET daily start.
Trump complained about the start date on Twitter Friday morning, suggesting that the Saturday session would get bad TV ratings.
“After having been treated unbelievably unfairly in the House, and then having to endure hour after hour of lies, fraud & deception by Shifty Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer & their crew, looks like my lawyers will be forced to start on Saturday, which is called Death Valley in T.V.,” Trump tweeted.
Of course, it’s been Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who has set the schedule, including the late night for amendment votes to set the trial rules and cutting the number of days each side has to use their 24 hours of arguments to three from four in the 1999 Bill Clinton impeachment trial. McConnell’s condensed schedule is part of an effort to end the trial next week — ahead of the President’s February 4 State of the Union.
Whenever the President’s lawyers conclude their presentation, the Senate will shift into 16 hours of senator questions of the two legal teams. Then the Senate will address the question of witnesses — with a vote looming under the Republican-passed trial rules on whether there should be subpoenas for additional witnesses and documents.
Fox wasn’t showing the trial — as CNN and MSNBC were. Instead, Fox ran its usual primetime lineup of pro-Trump voices with the trial confined to a small corner of the screen, without sound. Sean Hannity, the network’s flagship host, called the entire impeachment trial a “snoozefest.” The previous night, when Fox again ran its primetime lineup rather than live coverage of the impeachment trial, Hannity noted: “If I were a terrible host. I would force you to endure watching the regurgitation, the repetition … the insanity that has gone on all day.”

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Unless you have spent the last few years on another planet, that programming decision won’t surprise you. Fox has relentlessly promoted and defended Trump — and he has responded in kind by showering its hosts with coveted interviews.
But what’s terrifying about how Fox News is choosing to cover (or not cover) the impeachment trial is revealed in new polling from the Pew Research Center delving into trust (or lack thereof) in the media.
Asked to name media companies in which they have trust, 65% of Republicans named Fox News. One in 3 named ABC. And that’s it. Not a single other news source was trusted by even 33% of self-identified Republicans in the Pew poll.
That’s in stark contrast to both Democrats and the population at large. More than 1 in 3 Democrats named 13 media sources they trust. The general public named 8: ABC (48% trusted), CNN (47%), NBC (47%), CBS (45%), Fox News (43%), PBS (42%), BBC (35%), The New York Times (35%) and MSNBC (34%). (Note: The pollsters went through 30 media sources with the respondents.)
Here’s the full chart:

Now, consider what those numbers mean.
A majority of Republicans (and Republican-leaning independents) don’t trust ANY media company other than Fox News. And two thirds don’t trust ANY media companies other than Fox News and ABC. The next 3 most-trusted media sourced among Republicans? CBS, NBC and, wait for it, the Sean Hannity radio show — all of which are trusted by 3 in 10 people. Eighteen of the 30 media courses that Pew asked about were trusted by less than 1 in 5 Republicans and Republican-leaners.
Combine those numbers with Fox News’s overwhelming viewership numbers among Republicans (60% get their election news from Fox; no other outlet gets above 30%), and the marked difference between its content and that of all the other mainstream media outlets, and you see a major reason for why we are where we are, politically speaking.
If you only trust one news outlet and that news outlet is telling a very different — and factually challenged — version of current events, a massive disconnect is created. It’s not too much to say that Fox News viewers are occupying a different (and less fact-based) reality than the people who seek out other sources for their news.
And it is into that disconnect, that information void, that Trump has leaped — and now resides. What Trump has done and is doing is use his own massive social media following to amplify the messages on national news offered by Fox News. Trump regularly tweets and retweets Fox News segments to his 71+ million Twitter followers. He often directly quotes from Fox personalities. He works to create a totally closed information ecosystem for his supporters — and largely succeeds.
That so many Republicans believe a) Fox is the only network to be trusted and b) trust in Trump despite his demonstrated lack of concern for telling the truth allows both the network and Trump to succeed. But their success comes at a price. A big one. And one that we will continue to pay for years and years to come.
He replaces Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost, who is expected to step down at the end of the month.
Scott ran the Border Patrol’s San Diego sector, where he was in charge during the arrival of the a migrant caravan in 2018, as well as the a widely-reported border incident in which migrants on the Mexican side rushed the border area, leading US Border Patrol agents to fire tear gas at the group.
He also recently served as the acting Deputy Border Patrol chief in recent months.
Provost oversaw the agency as it faced a surge in migrants at the southern border, severe overcrowding in the agency’s facilities, a major push from Trump to build a border wall and an investigation over “disturbing social media activity” posted in a Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents.
“In particular, the last 18 months have been some of the most challenging we have endured, and I would put the men and women of the Border Patrol up against any other law enforcement agency in the world,” Provost wrote in a Facebook post announcing her long planned retirement.
In July, Provost admitted that she was a member of the secret Facebook group that reportedly contained vulgar and offensive posts, announcing that she told internal investigators once she realized her involvement. Provost denied knowing of the “highly offensive and absolutely unacceptable posts” ahead of the ProPublica investigative report that first exposed the Facebook group dubbed “I’m 10-15
Provost, who was the first woman to lead the agency, took over the top job in August 2018.
“Chief Provost has served the United States Border Patrol and CBP with distinction, taking on and succeeding in challenging roles throughout her career,” former acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan told CNN this week. “She has been a strong advocate for her agents and the border security mission.”
Earlier this week President Donald Trump said he does not consider potential brain injuries to be as serious as physical combat wounds, downplaying the severity of the injuries suffered in Iraq.
During the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Trump was asked to explain the discrepancy between his previous comments that no US service member was harmed in the January 8 Iranian missile attack on Al-Asad airbase in Iraq, and the latest reports of US troops being treated for injuries sustained in that attack.
“No, I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things, but I would say, and I can report, it’s not very serious,” Trump replied during a news conference.
This story is breaking and will be updated.